BitClout Founder Sued for Infringing on the Privacy of High Ranking Twitter Individuals
Rising crypto-powered social network, BitClout founder hit with a cease and desist order.
The crypto world has been amassed with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the near past as artists sell their digital art, music, pictures, and other media forms for crypto. As the NFT market rises, investors focus on more ways to monetize any of their assets including social media profiles and presence.
Over the past few days, conversations have sparked across crypto communities on BitClout, a crypto-powered social network that allows users to buy and sell tokens based on a people’s reputation. You can buy NFT representations of high-profile celebrities on Twitter, including Kim Kardashian, Elon Musk, and high-ranking crypto Twitter individuals.
However, the application, which touts itself as the decentralized Twitter, has raised controversy inside the crypto community, amassing several critics. The latest critic, Brandon Curtis, the product lead for decentralized token exchange Radar Relay, has sent a formal letter to the app’s founder – believed to be Nadar Al-Naji, formerly at Basis – asking him to cease and desist from using his image and profile on the app.
Anderson Kill P.C., the law firm representing Brandon Curtis, sent out a letter on March 23, 2021, stating BitClout is against the California civil codes for infringing on Curtis’ right of publicity.
According to BitClout’s founder, who refers to themselves pseudonymously as “diamondhands,” the platform aims to help social media users enjoy some of the benefits from their monetized content. The platform offers BitClout tokens, which are bought using Bitcoin and can be used to buy various individual creator tokens.
However, several critics have blasted the platform as users can deposit BTC but cannot withdraw the BTCLT tokens. Brandon’s letter calls out BitClout for using his private likeness to make money and is asking to be paid the damages. According to California’s law on publicity,
“A company or a person cannot knowingly use another’s name, voice, signature, photograph, or likeness, in any manner, on or in products, merchandise, or goods, or for purposes of advertising or selling or soliciting purchases of products, merchandise, services, and goods, without such a person’s prior consent.”
To this end, the lawyers ask for compensation of $750 or actual damages incurred by BitClout’s actions of putting up Brandon’s Twitter profile on the platform for their own profit. Notwithstanding, BitClout has been accused of “deceptive practices” by representing that the tokens accrue value attributable to Curtis, but no relationship has been formed with the company. The letter states,
“For Mr. Curtis to exercise any sort of control over his name and likeness on [BitClout], he would need to put his own money into your project or provide you with even more personal information than you’ve already misappropriated.”
“Even messaging the BitClout support team costs BitClout tokens.”
The letter gives the BitClout team till 5 PM ET on March 24 to cease and desist from using Brandon’s Twitter profile and desist from using the client's private information.